A woman has sued former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters for $382,147, claiming he didn't pay her for years of work she did on his ranch property.
In a lawsuit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, Lauren Keller said she worked for Winters from June 2010 until September 2014 and claimed he didn't pay wages to her despite her repeated requests.
In a written response to the lawsuit, Winters contends Keller was his live-in girlfriend and any jobs she did "were done as part of her general obligations to the relationship and for being provided room, board and other consideration."
Winters said he and Keller "were involved initially in a friendship that progressed to an intimate sexual relationship and cohabitated together."
He has filed a counterclaim saying Keller owes him $127,500 for room, board, utilities, use of vehicles and other benefits.
Winters and his attorney did not return phone calls seeking comment about the case.
Winters decided not to seek a fourth term as Jackson County sheriff during the November 2014 election. Challenger Corey Falls of the Ashland Police Department received more votes than Winters during the primary and went on to win the election after Winters withdrew from the race.
Keller filed her lawsuit seeking the lost wages in April 2015. Winters filed his counterclaim in July 2015.
Keller said the work she performed on behalf of Winters' ranch properties included filing, bookkeeping, ordering and purchasing supplies, assisting in getting cattle to market, duties related to the production and sale of hay, maintenance work and other duties. Keller said she often worked well over 40 hours per week.
She said Winters made partial payments on her back wages totaling $9,400.
In late December 2015, Keller filed additional requests for Winters to make admissions in the case.
She wants him to say he was never in a monogamous relationship with her from July 2011 to the present, that he spent the night several times at another woman's home between 2010 and 2015, and that he began dating another woman in 2014, traveled with her and introduced her to numerous people as his girlfriend.
Keller also wants Winters to say he was aware she dated several different men, including men she met on www.match.com, an Internet dating service.
Keller claims both she and Winters had www.match.com accounts, with Winters using the name "Roughrider56" for his account.
She also wants Winters to concede that at various times when she asked for her pay, he told her she was "unappreciative" and gave varying responses, including that she would eventually get paid by inheriting ranch property or would be paid when he sold ranch property.
Keller alleged Winters told her in January 2015 if she wanted to get paid and receive expense reimbursements, she would need to sue him.
Winters' lawyer has yet to file a written response to Keller's request for Winters to make admissions in the case.
The case is scheduled to go to trial in June.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.